To The Extended WorldVenture Family,
All of us are acutely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. In the midst of the challenge
s to adapt to the new realities in which we find ourselves, I find great peace in the anchoring truth that God alone is sovereign. He always has been, he always will be, and he is sovereign today. The virus is not sovereign though it covers nearly the whole earth; nor is the accompanying fear of the virus sovereign; there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ. It is to him we turn regardless of our circumstances. It is because of the good news of his life, death, and resurrection that we labor together in the task of going to make disciples who will also make disciples of Jesus among all peoples.
This COVID-19 pandemic is deadly serious, and so we are learning and adapting and loving each other through social distancing and vigilant hygiene. We pray to the only One who is sovereign, that his will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and that by his grace, the message of his gospel would be embraced by many in these days of uncertainty and anxiety. With this backdrop, I want to share some thoughts for everyone connected to the ministries of WorldVenture.
In our January 2020 meeting of WorldVenture’s Board of Directors, we had a session where we discussed some of the thorny mission, church, social, and economic issues of our days. After recording a list on the whiteboard of more than twenty topics, there was a lull in our discussion and someone voiced a desire for the Lord’s return. After an “Amen!” and chuckles of agreement, someone else said something to this effect:
These present circumstances are an invitation to set our faces in the wind and lean hard into God and get after sharing the gospel of Jesus and making disciples.
Immediately my heart soared—Yes! Rather than shrink back, let’s lean hard into God for the work of the gospel in our day. Little did we understand then the brutal realities that we would be facing now.
As you already know, WorldVenture colleagues serve to engage people for gospel impact in many places around our world. Vital in that service are our partnerships with other Christ-followers and local churches. While a relatively few of us actually go and engage in the arduous journey of cross-cultural missions, many of us live out our gospel witness where we are already, and we work to support the global disciple-making efforts of others. Many labor and sacrifice to make the financial realities of WorldVenture ministry happen, and to you we express our profound gratitude for your labor and sacrifice!
Since late January, WorldVenture leadership and our Crisis Response Team in the Colorado headquarters have been closely following the CDC, WHO, and the US State Department guidelines with specific attention for our colleagues in COVID-19 impacted communities and countries. We have interacted with our colleagues, their sending churches, and other partners to seek to discern wise responses and appropriate next steps of action. We will continue to do so throughout this evolving situation.
Now, the COVID-19 realities are impacting our daily lives across America. In response to government recommendations, most of our office personnel in the WorldVenture headquarters are working remotely from their homes. There are a handful of staff members in the office doing the work of receipting the physical checks that are faithfully mailed to WorldVenture. For now, we can accommodate that giving option. However, I do want to remind you that there are electronic means of giving that ensure your partnership will continue even if we are forced to restrict those staff from going into the office. So, if you haven’t already, you can register to give online by going to www.worldventure.com and clicking the “Give Now” button and selecting “Create A Partner Account.”
This is a season of economic uncertainty. For those of you who are newly unemployed due to the COVID-19 restrictions, this is a season of personal difficulty. Would you kindly let us know if this is your situation? This is one of our core beliefs about partnership:
People are more important than their contributions.
We want to pray for you if you’ve lost your job to this. We want to be sensitive to your circumstances, honoring our mutual partnership to engage the world for gospel impact, and temporarily adjusting support commitment expectations, if necessary. For the rest of us, may this be a time of renewed, even increasing, commitment and sacrifice to God and His work around the world.
In closing, I want to encourage each of us to lean hard into God in caring for the least, the last, and the lost among us. As crazy as these days are, may we experience anew the joy of the salvation Jesus bought and paid for and has freely given to us, and may we freely live it out and share it with all who will listen!
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
-Romans 8:28 NIV
P.S. With your ongoing prayers and financial support, our workers are finding creative ways to engage the world for gospel impact during this pandemic! See many examples at www.facebook.com/worldventure and be encouraged!